A comparison of native Michigan and nonnative plants to provide resources to natural enemies
Anna K. Fiedler, firstname.lastname@example.org and D. A. Landis, email@example.com. Michigan State University, Department of Entomology, 204 Center for Integrated Plant Systems, East Lansing, MI
The use of plants to provide nectar and pollen resources to natural enemies via habitat management is a growing focus of conservation biological control. While most guidelines recommend plants not native to the area of study, there is no reason to suspect that plants native to an area cannot perform as well as non-natives. Use of native plants for habitat management has several benefits. Many of the natural enemy species affected by conservation biological control are native insect species, which may be better adapted to feed on native plants. In addition, native plants are pre-adapted to the environment and its natural enemies. Use of them adds to native biodiversity and restores native communities. We compared of a set of forty-six native Michigan, USA and five non-native plants for their effectiveness as resource plants for natural enemies. Insect abundance and diversity were measured at flowering plants during the 2004 growing season. Plant and flower characteristics were measured to determine which, if any, are best correlated with natural enemy visitation. We expect to see a positive correlation between nectar accessibility, flower apparency (floral display) and number of natural enemies. This process allows rapid plant screening to maximize resource plant effectiveness before in-field trials are performed.